Here’s an example: at the end of last year I tore a calf muscle while playing tennis. This is a common injury for tennis players and everyone told me that it would take at least 6 weeks before I was able to get back on the court. I ‘heard’ what they said and at the same time I was aware that there was a small part of me that expected me to be back on court sooner than that.
Although this was a small part of me, it still influenced my actions. For example, when the Dr. told me that walking would be good for me and would strengthen the muscle I got on the treadmill the next day. Rather than going for 10, 15 or even 20 minutes my first time out, I went for 50 minutes. It wasn’t until the next day, when my leg was feeling sore, that I realized this had been an unreasonable expectation, and it would have been more helpful to walk for just a few minutes. I was pushing myself because I expected to be able to heal my leg faster than 6 weeks.
When I share this story now I realize how ridiculous it is, but the problem is, at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.
Where do you have unrealistic and unreasonable expectations for yourself and how are they affecting you? When you recognize them you can change them. This doesn’t mean you lower your standards, but it does mean that you stop punishing yourself, which is exactly what I was doing.